Vaxart (VXRT) began the week with a monster Monday session. Shares of the vaccine specialist surged by 47% after the biotech announced it had been given the go ahead from the FDA to commence the Phase 1 clinical trial of its oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The study will evaluate the vaccine’s effect on healthy adults between the ages of 18 to 55, examining the safety and reactogenicity of a two-dose regimen.
The trial’s commencement couldn’t have come sooner for this high-flying coronavirus stock, as the small cap is significantly behind peers in the development of its COVID-19 vaccine program. However, based on the available pre-clinical data, B Riley FBR analyst Mayank Mamtani believes “the long awaited initiation clears the path for the ‘show me’ story” to make a mark in a crowded yet still “uncertain landscape.”
The 5-star analyst further said, “Having demonstrated the potential to activate multiple arms of the immune system, i.e., serum neutralizing antibody, dose-dependent IgG, mucosal immune and cell-mediated CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, we believe VXRT likely emerges as a dominant player in the second wave of COVID-19 vaccines with the potential to induce sterilizing immunity, conferring a high degree of immune protection while also limiting the risk for transmission.”
Vaxart’s rise in 2020 has been nothing less than a fairytale with shares up by 1950% so far. Yet, Mamtani urges investors pull the trigger on VXRT shares believing the “valuation disconnect relative to more advanced C-19 vaccine peers, presents an additional compelling buying opportunity.”
Mamtani expects several 4Q catalysts to drive further share appreciation. These include “(1) incremental challenge data in hamsters and non-human primates (NHP); (2) in-human Ph. I proof-of-concept data informing dose selection; and (3) external Ph. III efficacy readouts (e.g., PFE/BNTX, MRNA, NVAX) informative of the value proposition of VXRT's oral vaccine, which could then result in appropriate non-dilutive funding.”
To this end, Mamtani reiterates a Buy rating on VXRT alongside a $22 price target, which implies a 207% upside. (To watch Mamtani’s track record, click here)
Overall, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to other analyst activity. In the last three months, only 2 analysts have issued ratings. However, as they were both Buys, the word on the Street is that VXRT is a Moderate Buy. Based on the $19.50 average price target, shares could climb 169% higher in the next twelve months. (See Vaxart stock analysis on TipRanks)
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